Creative Leaders on Beginnings: Fjord’s Abbie Walsh

We’ve talked to a number of CR’s Creative Leaders 50 about how they got started, the best advice they’ve received and how they bring their teams with them when beginning a new project. Here we talk to Fjord’s Abbie Walsh, who began in banking before becoming a designer

Before working in design, Abbie Walsh tried out banking, DJing and journalism before taking a job at the BBC, where she was part of the design team that developed the iPlayer.

She’s now managing director at Fjord – which she joined in 2013 as the digital consultancy was being acquired by Accenture Interactive – where she oversees key clients. She’s also currently working on an event series to encourage more LGBT people into the design industry. Here she shares more about her unconventional route into creativity, her advice for women starting out, and how turning ideas into memes is a good way to get people onboard.

Creative Review: What got you interested in design?
Abbie Walsh: I’ve had a catalogue of positive coincidences in a way. When I first started out I didn’t initially think of design as a career for me, and I think there are linear paths but also other ways into things. For me, I got interested in design probably more from a copy and content perspective. I always really loved writing and English when I was at school, although in fact I didn’t study that at university, I did economics. I had this dream of being a banker for some reason. I thought that was a really good idea, then I went into banking and hated it, and realised I was much more creative than that. So I actually retrained as a journalist, very early in my career, and I think that’s what made the connection for me in terms of being able to create copy and content, as you do when you’re writing for an audience – a customer if you like.